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  1. #1
    Slowpoach
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    How do you deal with swooping magpies?

    With spring well and truly here, the magpies are out in full force. Does anyone have any hints to stop them swooping? I've heard cable ties on the helmet can scare them off. Any experience with this?

  2. #2
    Happy old man al-wagner's Avatar
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    12 gauge #6 shot
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I was riding with my GF in Altona the other day and she had one swooping her. I had to tell here when to duck. One benefit of a helmet is that it also protects your head from magpies.

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    Paint big eyeballs on the back of your helmet (or get stickers). If they think you are looking their way, they won't swoop.
    stickers for your bike: http://bike.bedope.com/ [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Why are they swooping? Are you in what they see as their territory? I was with a Pest Control company 18 years ago. We had a birth control formula for pigeons. Try booze or tranquilizers in magpie food then locate the stunned birds elsewhere, Canberra perhaps. They would fit in.
    This space open

  6. #6
    Senior Member fenester's Avatar
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    What about strapping one of those little deer siren thingies to your handlebars? I don't know how the magpies would feel about it, but I'm pretty sure birds hear in that frequency range.
    "Mobility without effort constitutes a kind of unreal happiness, a suspension of existence, an irresponsibility."

  7. #7
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topher_Aus
    I was riding with my GF in Altona the other day and she had one swooping her. I had to tell here when to duck. One benefit of a helmet is that it also protects your head from magpies.
    That's assuming they don't target your ears. Personally I find a squirt from the water bottle over the shoulder is a good way to deter them. If that doesn't work, just find a busier road. Cars do tend to scare them pretty effectively. In fact, I've never once been attacked by a magpie while picking my way through the daily Bundall Road gridlock.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  8. #8
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    A can of mace which sprays in a fog pattern...aim it to be (far) above your head and watch the fun as they dive!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.

  9. #9
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    I had the same problem with some nesting gease. Fog patter mace works great. Just don't spray it up wind.
    "Where you come from is gone;
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    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

  10. #10
    Senior Member mister's Avatar
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    Having never dealt with a magpie I had to google. I found a site that recommended a bunch of different things from scarecrows to propane cannons. The only practical one for a cyclist was painting eyes (as mentioned already) and strips of mylar attached in a way that they blow.
    Brilliant!

  11. #11
    The Wheel is Turning The Figment's Avatar
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    My Cat rides on my shoulders...He takes care of those dive-bombing critters!!

  12. #12
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    In the US , I've had the rare black bird swoop on my while on a bike. As long as you have a helmet and sunglasses on, seems you are less vunerable. IS their a defense, a cyclist has very poor aim with a shotgun, while pedaling.

  13. #13
    Slowpoach
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    If that doesn't work, just find a busier road.
    Actually, it was on the Nepean Hwy just beyond Beach Road on a weekend... average 4000-7000 cyclists per day according to Bicycle Victoria! Plenty of cars, too.

    I saw a guy with a toy croc cable tied to his helmet (facing backwards) - scared me off, don't know about the birds!

    Why are they swooping? Are you in what they see as their territory?
    Yep, they get territorial in nesting season.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    I recall reading that during the mating season the testicles of male magpies swell to something like 20 times their normal size. Apart from the discomfort :-) this means the bird is driven almost crazy by testosterone-induced instincts (and mood-swings), including its protective role.

    from aus rec bike or summat

  15. #15
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I just ignore them. In my experience, birds are extremely good at this and won't actually hit you hard enough to do anything.
    I guess if they got to be too bad I might be tempted to bring my racquetball racquet with me on rides and take a swing or two.
    I have a couple of handheld electric bug-zappers that look like plastic tennis racquets. If they were actually hitting my helmet I'd really consider running some conductive tape in alternating bands over the top and powering it up. Just to see what kind of noise they made when they got jolted.

    The eyeball stickers on helmet sounds like something more realistic to try.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
    If they were actually hitting my helmet I'd really consider running some conductive tape in alternating bands over the top and powering it up. Just to see what kind of noise they made when they got jolted.

    The eyeball stickers on helmet sounds like something more realistic to try.
    I'm thinking live current that close to the head is a problem waiting to happen.

    Picturing folks on bikes swatting wildly with raquets while getting dive bombed by birds makes me
    Brilliant!

  17. #17
    Cat None SDRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awagner109
    12 gauge #6 shot
    I was going to say go with a 20 gauge for the lighter recoil.

  18. #18
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StankApe
    I recall reading that during the mating season the testicles of male magpies swell to something like 20 times their normal size. Apart from the discomfort :-) this means the bird is driven almost crazy by testosterone-induced instincts (and mood-swings), including its protective role.
    Yep, a bunch of blokes getting together, all high on testosterone, and before you know it, they're doing stupid things with their peckers.

    Sounds kinda familiar.
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  19. #19
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StankApe
    the testicles of male magpies swell to something like 20 times their normal size. Apart from the discomfort :-) this means the bird is driven almost crazy by testosterone-induced instincts
    Avian Roid Rage?

    Can you imagine the reprecussions?


  20. #20
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    I like the propane torch. I also like how this thread is turning into quite the expose' on Magpie testies and mating behavior. National Geographic has nothing compared to this forum!
    "Where you come from is gone;
    where you are headed weren't never there;
    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

  21. #21
    Senior Member mrkott3r's Avatar
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    one of the many reasons why I dont live in the country. Not much to do except find out where the birds are and avoid those spots forever more around this time of year.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awagner109
    12 gauge #6 shot
    +1

    Are you sure that "6" is not upside down? I'd figure a 12ga #9 birdshot would stop any bird from messing with you unless it gobbles.

    Haha I was about to say play some badminton or tennis. Try riding with a mate and play pong. ROTFL.


    Zero_Enigma

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    I've got one outside my house that attacks me as I'm riding along the hill to my place. He's done it twice in a row.

    These things are really persistent. They'll keep swooping until you get past them. They're a reasonable size bird, probably just a bit smaller than a crow.

  24. #24
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Commute on one of these

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  25. #25
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mister
    I'm thinking live current that close to the head is a problem waiting to happen.
    Not really. It's several hundred volts but only a few milliamps. It'll only jump about 1/8". It isn't pleasant but it doesn't cause any harm. In fact on larger flies it only stuns them.

    You'd have to keep from actually touching it if you didn't want a zap, but that wouldn't be much of a problem. If I were in an area where I had birds swooping at me that actually made contact, I'd probably give it a try.

    Around here though the only thing swooping is martins, grabbing bugs from around me, and I like them; they're a real joy to watch.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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